Gifts expand scholarships for local students supported by Million estate


Additional gifts from the estate of the late Howard Million H’12 have advanced his generous support for educating students from his community.

Illinois College and The Jacksonville Promise each recently received $850,000 thanks to the generosity of the Million family. With this additional gift, the estate of Howard and Vera Million has provided $2.3 million in support for scholarships at Illinois College.

The endowed scholarship is awarded annually to students entering Illinois College from high school in Greene, Morgan, or Scott counties in Illinois. The following Illinois College students are 2022-2023 recipients of the Howard and Vera Million Endowed Scholarship: Justine Gaive Agsalda ’26, Haley DeGroot ’23, Megan Suttles ’24, and Elizabeth Weber ’23, all of Jacksonville.

Jacksonville Promise is a donor-funded organization offering place-based scholarships to area students who plan to attend college in Jacksonville at Illinois College or Lincoln Land Community College. The organization’s mission is to provide the financial support necessary for all graduates to thrive. It aims to achieve improved academic performance in primary grades, increased college enrollment and college retention, and decreased truancy and juvenile crime among students in the region.

“The Jacksonville community has been forever strengthened by the Millions' vision to support area students to attend college and build a life in this region. I am grateful to Frank Cummings and the team from Brown, Hay + Stephens who invested their time to ensure these funds support students through scholarships,” said Stephanie Elpers Chipman, vice president for external relations at Illinois College and The Jacksonville Promise board member. “This endowed scholarship will help generations of students realize their dream of a college education, one it took Howard Million nearly a century to achieve.”  

Million was a distinguished friend of Illinois College. Raised on a farm near Roodhouse, he had a successful career as a farmer and was the founder and president of the former Roodhouse Savings and Loan Association. Illinois College awarded Million an honorary bachelor of arts degree during the 2012 Commencement ceremony. 

That same year, Million approached the College about helping ensure deserving students have the opportunity to attend Illinois College and receive the type of education he had not been afforded. Working closely with the Office of Advancement and Alumni Engagement, Million established a gift through his estate to provide for the scholarship.

Estate gifts have long been a vital source of support throughout Illinois College’s nearly 200-year history. Planned gifts have funded scholarships and made it possible to establish impactful academic and co-curricular programs. They provide a meaningful legacy for the donors who leave a lasting impression on the lives of the students they support.

About Illinois College

Founded in 1829, Illinois College is a residential liberal arts college fostering academic excellence rooted in opportunities for experiential learning while preparing students for lifelong success. The college is located in Jacksonville, Illinois. With an enrollment of more than 1,000 students, the college offers over 50 undergraduate programs. In 1932, the society of Phi Beta Kappa established a chapter at Illinois College, and it remains one of only 11 in the state.

Illinois College is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association.

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